The Taliban is exploiting an advanced U.S. military technology seized from the Afghan government to track and hunt Afghan allies.
According to New York Post, the Taliban’s special unit Al Isha uses U.S.-made hand-held scanners to tap into a massive U.S.-built biometric database to identify any person who had helped the NATO allies or worked with Indian intelligence.
Al Isha is a new unit that has been formed specifically to hunt down Afghan targets who have assisted U.S. and allied forces in the region. But the existence of this unit has not been previously confirmed by the Taliban until now when the Taliban leaders are bragging about their newfound tools and putting them into immediate use.
Nawazuddin Haqqani, one of the Al Isha unit brigade commanders, revealed that those Afghans who try to deny or minimize their role would find themselves contradicted by the detailed computer records that the U.S. military has left behind their withdrawal.
U.S. officials have not confirmed how many of the 7,000 scanners were left behind or whether the biometric database could be remotely deleted. The database, which includes fingerprints, iris scans, and other biographical data, was housed in a whitewashed building at the Ministry of Interior in Kabul.
The power and reach of the U.S. biometric database are comprehensive. Nearly everyone who worked with the Afghan government or the U.S. military, including interpreters, drivers, nurses, and secretaries, was scanned for the biometric database.
Haqqani said that they have now turned their focus on counterintelligence after seizing Kabul.
“While most of the brigade is now resting in different madrassas [Islamic religious schools], the Al Isha group is now the principal agency handling this [biometric] data project,” he said.
“We’re in control of the Interior Ministry and the national biometric database they kept. We have everyone’s data with us now, including journalists and so-called human rights people. We haven’t killed a single foreign journalist, have we? We aren’t arresting the families of these people [who are on the blacklist] either,” he said.
“But American, NDS [Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security] and RAW’s [India’s Research and Analysis Wing] puppets won’t be let off. They will always be watched by Al Isha. Those who were barking about having U.S. dollars in their pockets till a few days back—they won’t be spared. They can’t be spared, can they?” Haqqani said.
New York Post cited NATO saying that the United States started with data from some 300,000 Afghans in 2009, mainly prisoners and Afghan soldiers, and the biometric center opened in November 2010.
The abrupt departure of U.S. forces in Afghanistan also left much of their weaponry behind, which the Taliban quickly appropriated.
Earlier this week, a video emerged showing the Taliban militants were test-riding a U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in an Afghanistan airport.